Survey: L.A. dissatisfied with hospitals

LOS ANGELES L.A. County is home to many premiere hospitals known for state-of-the-art medical treatment, yet a new survey of over a million American patients reveals getting care at a respected facility doesn't always equal customer satisfaction.

"Obviously, folks in L.A. are not as satisfied with their hospitals as folks elsewhere in the country are," said Dr. John Santa from Consumer Reports.

Dr. Santa says L.A. is not alone. Top-ranked hospitals known for aggressive care in both New York City and Miami also didn't make it to the top of the new Consumer Reports Patient Ratings list.

"Most of us would think that more care is better, and more care would lead to higher satisfaction," said Dr. Santa. "But that does not appear to be the case."

Aggressive care can result in more tests, more potential for infections, and longer hospitals stays.

The report also pointed out that 20 teaching hospitals, most of them in New York City, scored a bit lower.

"They do a lot of different things, and it is probably difficult for them to achieve high satisfaction," said Dr. Santa.

Yet two of the L.A. County's top five hospitals - Huntington in Pasadena and USC University Hospital - are teaching hospitals.

"At USC and Huntington, those doctors are figuring out how to satisfy patients," said Dr. Santa. "I think other teaching hospitals need to learn from them."

Dr. Santa says all hospitals can learn from others that got the most favorable response. In L.A. County, Presbyterian Intercommunity in Whittier topped most of the categories. The staff says they check on patients every hour, take all complaints seriously and administrators address the needs of the front-line staff.

"We treat all the professionals that work here with great respect," said Dr. Mark Magged from Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital.

Many hospitals in states like Indiana and Minneapolis came in above average. Dr. Santa says while patient satisfaction may be the top criteria on people look for, you should also take into account the hospital's record on treatment outcomes.

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